Luke Cage Just Confirmed A Cool Villain

Spoilers below for those wanting to stay free from Luke Cage news for as long as possible.

While we’ve known about Netflix’s Luke Cage series for a while now, and even got to meet the titular muscleman in Jessica Jones, our eyeballs have been essentially free from getting official peeks at the action drama, save for that super-brief teaser. But set photos pop up from time to time, and the latest batch confirm the comic book villain Diamondback will be one of the people making New York City that much more dangerous.

Diamondback has long been rumored to be one of Luke Cage’s freshman season baddies, but now it’s been made eyewitness-official thanks to the recently released images. Actor Erik LaRay Harvey, best known for his time as Dunn Purnsley on Boardwalk Empire, will be playing the baddie, whose real name is Willis Stryker. And if these images are anything to go by, his relationship with Luke Cage is going to be a physical one, as we see the two going head to head in the middle of the street. They take the street-level superhero subgenre super literally.

And so this is obviously our first look at Diamondback’s visual appeal, which is kind of cool, but mostly weird because I don't understand it. He’s got a jumpsuit on, as well as a helmet that’s half-RoboCop and half…bowl? And his jumpsuit has a lit-up device on the back of it that looks like a power supply of some kind. Did this criminal get some kind of a robotic upgrade in the transition from page to screen?


In the comics, Willis Stryker was not very prominent, with a limited backstory that had him as a friend of Luke Cage’s when the two were children. He initially appeared in the first issue of Luke Cage: Hero for Hire in 1972, with a specialty that centered around knives, and not just real ones but also trick knives that exploded. (I guess that’s more than just a trick.) Unfortunately for anyone trying to speculate what Diamondback will get up to in Luke Cage, the character died in the very next issue, and the villain name was later passed on to Rachel Leighton, who was tied in with Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. stories. So it’s understandable that the creative team at Luke Cage expanded and changed some things about Diamondback to keep it interesting.

You can head over to First Look to see all of the set images for yourself. Be prepared for disappointment if you really wanted Luke Cage to light up the night with his yellow costume, because he’s not wearing it. Yet. Maybe.

Luke Cage will make its long-awaited debut on Netflix on Friday, September 30, at 12:00 a.m. PT.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.